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Hal David
David at the 2011 ASCAP concert[1]
David at the 2011 ASCAP concert[1]
Background information
Birth nameHarold Lane David
Born(1921-05-25)May 25, 1921
New York City, U.S.
DiedSeptember 1, 2012(2012-09-01) (aged 91)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Years active1940s–2012
  • Alice David (died 1987)
  • Eunice David
  • Craig David (born c. 1950)
  • Jim David
RelativesMack David (brother)

Harold Lane David (May 25, 1921 – September 1, 2012) was an American lyricist.[2] He grew up in New York City. He was best known for his collaborations with composer Burt Bacharach and his association with Dionne Warwick.

Early life

David was born in New York City, a son of Austrian Jewish immigrants Lina (née Goldberg) and Gedalier David, who owned a delicatessen in New York. He is the younger brother of American lyricist and songwriter Mack David.[3][4]


David is credited with popular music lyrics, beginning in the 1940s with material written for bandleader Sammy Kaye and for Guy Lombardo. He worked with Morty Nevins of The Three Suns on four songs for the feature film Two Gals and a Guy (1951), starring Janis Paige and Robert Alda.

In 1957, David met composer Burt Bacharach at Famous Music in the Brill Building in New York. The two teamed up and wrote their first hit "The Story of My Life", recorded by Marty Robbins in 1957. Subsequently, in the 1960s and early 1970s Bacharach and David wrote some of the most enduring songs in American popular music, many for Dionne Warwick but also for The Carpenters, Dusty Springfield, B. J. Thomas, Gene Pitney, Tom Jones, Jackie DeShannon and others.[2]

In the UK, a version of "The Story of My Life" recorded by Michael Holliday reached No. 1 in 1958 before being replaced by Perry Como's "Magic Moments", the first time any songwriter had consecutive #1 hits in the UK Singles Chart.

Bacharach and David hits included "Alfie", "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head", "This Guy's in Love with You", "I'll Never Fall in Love Again", "Do You Know the Way to San Jose", "Walk On By", "What the World Needs Now Is Love", "I Say a Little Prayer", "(There's) Always Something There to Remind Me", "One Less Bell to Answer" and "Anyone Who Had a Heart".[2]

The duo's film work includes the Oscar-nominated title songs for "What's New Pussycat?" and "Alfie", "The Look of Love", from Casino Royale; and the Oscar-winning "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head" from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. In addition, "Don't Make Me Over", "(They Long to Be) Close to You" and "Walk On By" have been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

David's work with other composers includes Albert Hammond for Willie Nelson and Julio Iglesias's "To All the Girls I've Loved Before";[2] Sarah Vaughan's "Broken Hearted Melody", with Sherman Edwards; the 1962 Joanie Sommers hit "Johnny Get Angry" also with Edwards; and "99 Miles From L.A." with Albert Hammond, recorded by Hammond and later Art Garfunkel. With Paul Hampton, David co-wrote the country standard "Sea of Heartbreak", a hit for Don Gibson and others, and, with Archie Jordan, the top 20, Ronnie Milsap hit, "It Was Almost Like a Song".

David contributed lyrics to three James Bond film themes—in addition to "The Look of Love" from Casino Royale (1967) with Bacharach, he wrote "We Have All the Time in the World", with John Barry and sung by Louis Armstrong for the 1969 film On Her Majesty's Secret Service, and in 1979, "Moonraker", also with Barry, sung by Bond regular Shirley Bassey for the film of the same name.

David and Bacharach were awarded the 2011 Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, bestowed by the Library of Congress, the first time a songwriting team was given the honor. David was recuperating from an illness and was unable to attend the Washington D.C. presentation ceremony in May 2012.[5]

The television tribute, What the World Needs Now: Words by Hal David was aired on public television stations and released on home video in 2019. The program was hosted by Bette Midler and contained archival interviews with Hal David, and commentary, tributes, and archival performances with Burt Bacharach, Dionne Warwick, Valerie Simpson, Barbra Streisand, Cher, Dusty Springfield, B.J. Thomas, and Glen Campbell.[6]

Personal life and death

David had two sons with his first wife Anne (died 1987). He married his second wife Eunice and had three grandchildren.[4] David lived for many years in Roslyn, New York in the historic Mackay Estate Dairyman's Cottage of the Harbor Hill estate.[7]

On September 1, 2012, David died from a stroke at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, at the age of 91.[4][8]

He is interred in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park beside his first wife, Anne, who died in 1987.[citation needed]


Work on Broadway

See also


  1. ^ Padua, Pat (May 12, 2011). "Pic(s) of the Week: They Write the Songs Edition". Library of Congress - In the Muse: Performing Arts Blog. Retrieved December 4, 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d Colin Larkin, ed. (1997). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music (Concise ed.). Virgin Books. p. 343. ISBN 1-85227-745-9.
  3. ^ "Hal David Biography (1921-)". Retrieved September 3, 2012.
  4. ^ a b c Hoerburger, Rob (September 1, 2012). "Hal David, Songwriter, Is Dead at 91". The New York Times. Retrieved September 1, 2012.
  5. ^ "Hal David, Burt Bacharach honored in D.C. with Gershwin Prize". Los Angeles Times. May 9, 2012.
  6. ^ "HAL DAVID MOVIE". HAL DAVID MOVIE. Retrieved August 25, 2020.
  7. ^ "Mackay Estate Dairyman's Cottage | Profiles | Roslyn Landmark Society".
  8. ^ "Iconic songwriter Hal David dies at 91 in Los Angeles". Fox News. Retrieved September 22, 2014.
  9. ^ "Golden Plate Awardees of the American Academy of Achievement". American Academy of Achievement.
  10. ^ Songwriters Hall of Fame presents first ever Visionary Leadership Award to Chairman Emeritus Hal David, archived from the original on May 23, 2011